As much as we love traveling to big cities, sometimes it can get overwhelming. Here are a few places in or near the biggest metropolises in the U.S., where, for a few hours at least, you can leave the noise and bustle behind.
Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C.
Just a 15-minute drive from Capitol Hill, the fresh air of Rock Creek Park calms the nerves of the nation's most stressed-out politicians. The park offers more than 32 miles of hiking trails; 13 miles of dirt and gravel bridle paths for horseback riding, and the only planetarium within the U.S. national park system.
Fort Tryon Park, New York
Fort Tryon Park is just a 40-minute ride on the A train from midtown Manhattan, but feels a world away. You can take a stroll through the Heather Garden, which is home to more than 200 varieties of perennials, and through the winding leafy pathways. The park also hosts educational walks and talks, covering topics such as flora and bird migration, and even hosts an "urban wildlife appreciation day."
Lurie Garden, Chicago
Another great spot for birding enthusiasts, Lurie Garden is located at the southern end of Millennium Park, along the Mississippi Flyway, which is one of the great highways for migrating birds. Guided walks are offered on Friday and Saturday from May-September.
Franklin Canyon Park, Los Angeles
Right in the center of busy Los Angeles, the 605-acre oasis features grasslands and oak woodlands, a three-acre lake, and over five miles of hiking trails. Following the one-mile-long Berman Trail to Mulholland Drive takes you across the Santa Monica Mountains to Coldwater Canyon Park and Wilacre Park.
Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas
After just a day or two of bright neon and clanging slot machines in Las Vegas, who wouldn't appreciate the natural beauty of Red Rock Canyon? Less than 20 minutes from The Strip, the 195,819-acre area features huge red rock formations and sandstone peaks. It also offers more than 30 miles of hiking trails, as well as opportunities for rock climbing and horseback riding.